Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays

Mumia Abu-Jamal


Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist who chronicles the human condition. He has been a resident of Pennsylvania's death row for twenty-five years. Writing from his solitary confinement cell his essays have reached a worldwide audience. His books "Live From Death Row", "Death Blossoms", "All Things Censored", "Faith of Our Fathers" and "We Want Freedom" have sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into nine languages. His 1982-murder trial and subsequent conviction have been the subject of great debate. Major issues in the trial have led to a worldwide campaign to gain Mumia a new trial and, ultimately, to gain his freedom.

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951 episodes

Politicians Servants of the Wealthy

Politicians: Servants of the Wealthy It is impossible to look at the current crop of political presidential aspirants and not be struck by their level of subservience to the wants and needs of the owner class. Like Puppies panting in the presence of their masters, the politicians, emboldened by the unconscionable Citizens United decision, are at the feet of the billionaires for scraps to better serve their betters. Now, one billionaire can field half-dozen pols, and by so doing, can determine not just who runs, but who wins - and what laws will be passed. Why not?  They own them, don’t they? But still, that is not enough. For witness the emergence of New York real estate executive Donald Trump. Trump brags, at every opportunity, of his enormous wealth. By so doing, he intimidates his potential rivals, who are used to bending their knees to such men. But he also represents the distrust of his class, for rather than hiring politicians, he runs himself, to lock in his class dominance. Nor is this solely a Republican affair, for Democrats, who run on emotional appeals to labor unions and working people, once in power lead to the interests of Wall Street – the source of the lion’s share of their donations. Their strategy, of talk labor, while pleasing capital was seen in the destructive NAFTA pact, which decimated manufacturing jobs in the U.S. by the millions. Bill Clinton hustled NAFTA like a street dealer sold crack, selling dreams that turned to dust. Now, the Clintons return, posing as the saviors of the working class, when their treasured NAFTA ripped away tens of thousands of jobs annually, undermined unions, and transferred vast wealth to Wall St. When Texas businessman and 1992-96 presidential candidate, H.Ross Perot predicted NAFTA would produce a “giant sucking sound” of lost jobs, the media pundits laughed at him, making him sound like a fool. History proves his words were true. Politicians –servants of capital; promisers of progress, but bringers of disaster. Written 9/9/15© ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Sep 24, 2015
Messin' with Major

His name is Major - (his real name); Major Tillery of West Philadelphia.Although he had a reputation as a gangster, in prison such things matter little. It’s as a jailhouse lawyer that he shook the prison walls in the case known as Tillery v. Owens, a ground-breaking prison conditions case where double-dealing (or the placement of four men in a cell) was declared unconstitutional. The prison medical department was declared unconstitutional and living conditions in part of the prison were declared a violation of the constitution.Shortly after his glorious win, Major Tillery was sent to a prison in another state; Retaliation?  Sure looks like it.Several months ago, Major saw me in the library, and expressed shock at my appearance, my carriage, and my level of wakefulness. He argued with me, insisting I go to the prison infirmary.I resisted, saying I was ok, or would be in a few days. Major said, “Dude - I’m looking at you - your skin is shedding; you are so tired you can’t stay awake. You ain’t cool, Mu!”He went further. He walked up to the prison superintendent, warning him that if Jamal wasn’t hospitalized immediately, he might die.The warden responded, “I suggest you worry less about another prisoner, and more about yourself.”Major responded immediately: “That’s what I’m doing, cuz that’s my brother - and I want for my brother what I want for myself!”From that day forward, Tillery was hit by daily harassments, daily shakedowns, and he was removed from his job of Peer Facilitator.He was transferred - first to the other side of the prison, and soon thereafter, to nearby SCI- Frackville. Once there, he got another surprise: he received a misconduct for drug-trafficking (of suboxone), using stamps. He was given 6 months in the hole!Here’s the only problem with such a charge. At Frackville (as in Mahanoy), all stamps are ripped off of envelopes by the mailroom before prisoners receive their mail.Tillery demanded he be charged by the State Police to prove the falsity of the charge. The prison refused to do so.Retaliation?Sure looks like it.To make matters worse, Major Tillery, and dozens of other men, are also suffering from skin rashes and getting little relief. Major is in the hole not because of drugs, but because of something prison administrators hate and fear above all things: prisoner unity; prisoner solidarity.On Sept. 5, 2015, Tillery will turn 65 years old, in the hole for blatant retaliation.© [column written 8/14/15] © ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Aug 21, 2015
Trump: And the Politics of Resentment

Trump: And the Politics of Resentment[col. writ. 7/31/15] © ’15 Mumia Abu-JamalWhen New York billionaire and GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump launched into his anti-immigrant tirade against Mexicans crossing the border, he was using a long known political technique of plugging into the live wire of American resentment of the other.Today, it’s Latinos, of course; more precisely, those from the Southern borders: Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and the like.But, since the 19th century, politicians have used these currents of fear to fuel movements against those who came from abroad. In these days though, the targets of nativist’s ire were the Irish, Russian Jews, Italians and other European sites.These forces gave birth to the American Party, a fierce anti-immigrant group that became known popularly as the Know Nothings. They formed a third party during the 1850s, and ran former U.S. President Millard Fillmore as their unsuccessful candidate.U.S. historian Richard Hofstadter (1910-70), in his classic work, ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’, argued that much of the energy in the anti-immigrant forces, stemmed from what might be called ‘status anxiety’, or the intense insecurities of people unsure of their place in U.S. society, but who could point to others - immigrants - who held weaker positions in society. Furthermore, these anxiety-ridden groups often have mixed feelings of fear and admiration of social elites; and who is more elite then the super-rich?Witness the spectacle of Donald Trump, who, without question, is perhaps the richest man ever to run for president - and is a billionaire populist, no less!I wouldn’t get too excited about his place in the polls right now. In 2012 the toast of both press and polls was a pizza exec named Herman Cain. We know how that worked out.But most candidates, especially of the GOP, worship at the throne of the wealthy, for they are the ones they serve.The thousands and millions who rage at Latino immigrants also worship the rich.In Donald Trump they have found their voice. And he has found the energies of resentment undeniable fuel for failure.© ‘15maj

Aug 10, 2015